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Virtual organizing has allowed NGOs like NextGen America to focus their attention on rural, young BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voters — a demographic that has been historically underrepresented in elections in the U.S. These voters have brought climate change and sustainable farming to the forefront of the election in places like rural Iowa. BIPOC rural voters want to fight climate change and encourage more sustainable and safe farming and agribusiness. For example, when Trump reopened meatpacking plants in April, it made Latinx and other immigrant workers more susceptible to coronavirus. Moreover, environmental disasters like the “derecho” wind storm, which destroyed $4B in crops in Iowa alone, made climate change a top issue for rural voters.
Why this Matters: In 2018, only 2 percent of rural voters ages 18 to 29 voted in the midterm elections, according to a report from Tufts’ Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement.The report explains that these voters tend to live in “civic deserts,” — places where aspiring voters aren’t encouraged or don’t have the tools to get engaged. 60% of rural millennials live in civic deserts, and 1/3 of these rural millennials do not have steady access to the internet or cell phone service. Because this demographic consistently gets ignored, it paints a misleading picture of what REALLY matters to rural voters. But that is changing — and it may be enough to make a difference in Iowa this election.
Get Out the Vote organizations have picked up the slack, translating voting instructions and candidate information, and distributing it to rural voters. While the pandemic has slowed many of these efforts down — for example, many voter’s advocacy organizations usually go to universities, conferences, and knocking on doors to reach young rural voters — organizing online has allowed for new ways of reaching out to voters. For example, 18by.vote, a voting organization focused on young people, has expanded their fellowship program, putting new fellows in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Oklahoma in order to connect with young rural voters as directly as possible. These efforts could prove integral to bringing climate change legislation to fruition, even in a fraught political landscape.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor The House Oversight and Reform Committee has announced an investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s disinformation campaigns on climate change after an undercover video released this summer showed an ExxonMobil lobbyist admitting that the company had fought against climate science. Executives from several big oil companies, the American Petroleum […]
The Biden administration has reached out to Congress on everything from a solar power blueprint to an infrastructure plan with tax incentives for clean energy which the President has called an “economic imperative and a national security imperative.” But the GOP has turned their trunk up at all of it — making the GOP refusal of otherwise bipartisan, common-sense measures an […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer On Friday, the United States and the EU will convene to announce a global agreement to cut methane emissions. This announcement will occur after a virtual, closed-door climate summit in preparation for the COP26 this November. “We are grateful to be working with the European Union and partner countries […]
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